Of teapots, coffee stains and thoughts

“Once again”, the owl thought, and flew off into the darkness.

There are hours in the student design studio you typically spend sitting around. You do, of course, engage with challenges – be they mighty or small – but, you do, a considered amount of time, just sit there. You arrive in the morning, unpack your stuff, or scatter it across the table so it might look like you actually worked for hours already (I am not going to give names here – not for now anyway), you might even get yourself a coffee or a bite to eat, but you come back in the room and you sit down. There are, of course, mechanisms a design student will employ in order to not be caught just sitting around, let’s call them “the catch-up”, “the sharing thoughts”, “the creative exchange” and “the fault-finding” – a favoured one amongst a few… but even though some talk (and they talk a lot!) nothing special comes of it, no great aural concept or calculated image, no visual pattern or tactile solution. Let’s face it, some display such a pathetic attitude towards something they should enjoy, it would get a sloth running a mile in under 10 minutes. Seriously, and I mean seriously. Re’cycling may be the way forward, but there is only so much one can re’use without running out of matter, be it physical or mental. Like I said, one spends a considered amount of time sitting around during a typical day in the studio. Don’t get me wrong, great things came and will come from sitting. After all chairs have been invented with specific purposes (or have they? …) and tables serve their purpose as much the technical drawing helps to investigate the concepts. We were considering the change – while you were out. But it’s not all about sitting down – let’s talk workshop, specifically the pottery. Amazing space to be in! There is something fascinating about playing with mud, making objects from such a versatile and history-loaded substance. The main goal: flux.
We are all (aware of it or not) in search for the instability that lives within us, that makes us, that holds us in a welcoming cuddle, that hits us in the face, just to hand us a lollypop in the end. Clay is un/predictable, glazes challenge the un/expected – fire. Like the pure ash on the ground, clean and untouched, new becomes alive, gains energy from the once-have-been.

Can one see what was there once without reading?

Abwarten und Tee trinken comes to mind – “put the kettle on luv” – Sometimes I miss Leeds.

Have you ever counted the circular coffee stains on the table surface?

I guess it is not so much about filling books with ideas, boxes with models and maquettes, memory cards with digital images and folders with drawings, but more about the exchange. The switch of flux – within and surrounding – the yellow Brick Road or was it the yellow tea pot…?!

“Come on Toto. We’ve got a man to see.
We’re off to see the Wizard – the wonderful Wizard of Oz!”


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